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Letters

  • Charter amendment debate continues

    Since the Oct. 14 letter to the Los Alamos Monitor from Morris Pomgratz mentioned my name I feel it is appropriate to comment.
    First I have already voted “yes,” and encourage others to vote “yes.”
    I believe that the proposed charter amendment is far from perfect. I would have worded some parts differently. But it is an improvement over the existing charter. It places ultimate responsibility and accountability, in the event of a dispute between the council and the utilities board, in the hands of the council, who are the elected representatives of the public. And the public should have ultimate responsibility.
    Various letters to the Monitor, and presentations at the LWV forum, have provided extensive detailed comments, and have hypothesized different extreme actions by the council or the utilities board to support their positions. These hypothesizes are highly unlikely, but are within the “possibility” envelope. Therefore it is appropriate that a revision to the charter that is limited, restricted and establishes an open dispute resolution process be approved.
    The proposed charter changes meet these criteria. Ultimate responsibility and accountability should be reserved for the council, acting as the elected representatives of the public.

  • 9/11 not comparable to charter vote

    Wow! Congratulations to George Chandler for somehow connecting 9/11, the BP oil spill, the alleged W-88 “theft,” and damage from Katrina to why we should vote “yes” on Charter Amendment 2!
    He forgot Watergate and the Ebola outbreak in Africa, but maybe he is saving those for a later letter.
    In the interest of space, let me just respond to the 9/11 claim. If you think the billions and billions of dollars spent on an ill-conceived Department of Homeland Security because of 9/11 is a good use of our tax dollars, then maybe you agree with George that it is OK for utility funds to be used for whatever the county council wishes.
    If you think the billions and billions of dollars spent on the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan (to say nothing of the loss of life) because of 9/11 were great ideas, then maybe you agree with George.
    But if you want utility funds to be used for utilities, then vote “no.”
    Wayne Hardie
    Los Alamos
     

  • If it ain't broke...

    Here’s some stuff that wasn’t “broke”:
    • Airport security before 9/11
    • BP procedures for supervising its contractors before the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
    • Nuclear weapons security before a defector walked into our embassy with design information about the W-88.
    • Mississippi levees and floodwalls before Hurricane Katrina
    Get the idea? The Utilities Charter Amendment No. 2 is preventive maintenance.
    Please don’t let cynicism and a false narrative about the council stop you from voting for clearly necessary preventive maintenance.
    The smart thing to do is to fix the Charter before the problems occur.
    I’m voting for Charter Amendment 2.
    George Chandler
    Los Alamos
     

  • One-sided story on solar power

    I found Los Alamos Monitor’s story on solar power systems somewhat one-sided. While much emphasis was placed on the issues the Department of Public Utilities has with grid based solar power systems, little attention was paid to the customer’s perspective.
    I first started thinking seriously about a solar power system for our home when a few years ago, the power frequently failed in our neighborhood because of problems associated with the Department of Public Utilities aging infrastructure.
    At the time, I considered a grid-based solar photovoltaic (PV) system, but they weren’t quite cost effective at that time. That has all changed in the last few years and as a result, I recently installed one.
    Current PV systems have guaranteed lifetimes in excess of 20 years and payouts in less than half that time. The growth in installed grid based PV systems has been exponential over the last several years, and for good reason, they reduce the cost of electricity to customers.
    There is also a certain satisfaction in generating one’s own electricity with a PV system. Besides saving money, it is a small step towards a greener planet and it also creates that feeling of independence that we Americans love.

  • Barking dog ordinance is being ignored

    We extend our support and sympathy to those individuals and families who are frustrated with the difficulty of enforcing the nuisance dog barking ordinance and the lack of sensitivity and cooperation on the part of dog owners who continue to allow their dogs to bark and annoy others.
    We know it can be a lonely battle. It’s one we’ve been fighting for more than four years with considerable, but not total, success. The responses we have received from dog owners have run the gamut from sincere apologies accompanied by homemade muffins and an immediate trip to Albuquerque to get barking collars to complete denial, rude dismissals and accusations of harassment. One owner has even suggested that since we are so bothered, it must be our own fault.
    A 30-minute allowable time limit for barking is ridiculous. If one waits 30 minutes after a dog begins barking before calling Animal Control and it takes them an hour to get there because they are busy doing something else, then they have to personally witness the barking for yet another 30 minutes, that means two hours have gone by while neighbors are subjected to this incredibly annoying noise. We have no complaint against the law enforcement officials except that they do not seem to enforce the citation part of the policy consistently.

  • In defense to say no to charter amendment

    I would like to lend my voice to that of Anthony Amsden, John Arrowsmith, Robert Gibson, Wayne Hardie, Kevin Holsapple, Lawry Mann, Ken Milder, Gil Miranda, Chris Ortega, Felicia Orth, Ralph Phelps, Khal Spencer and others who have urged defeat of Charter Amendment No. 2.
    I served on the 2009 Charter Review committee. In that committee former Utility Board member, Harry Ettinger, and I (a six-term member of the County Council) were asked to review the 1968 charter section on utilities and make any recommendations to the full committee.
    Quoting from our July 25, 2010 report to the full committee “This report considered comments from seven former members of the utility board, two former utility managers, three former county administrators, one former county attorney, three county councilors who had never served on the utility board and four county councilors who had previously served on the utilities board.” The report “recommended that the existing independence of the utility board (in the existing charter) should be maintained.”

  • Utililties Dept. is open and honest

    In the 42 years that I have lived in Los Alamos County, the only department and body that have always been consistently above board, open and honest with the citizens of Los Alamos is the utilities department and the utilities board.
    That’s a lot more than I can say for any of the county councils or their spokesmen.
    Gilbert Miranda
    Los Alamos
     

  • Tourney raised thousands for students

    Los Alamos Knights of Columbus Sacred Heart Council 3137 held our annual scholarship fundraising golf tournament on Sept. 26 at the Los Alamos golf course with more than 80 golfers participating, followed by a wonderful steak dinner at the hall.
    The tournament raised nearly $10,000 all of which will be used to award scholarships to worthy Los Alamos High School students. As the Knights look to support students with potential but from disadvantaged backgrounds, these scholarships have a real impact.
    We are grateful to the community of Los Alamos for your most generous support of our tournament. The outpouring of donations was overwhelming. We were honored to have on hand both our current and former pastors, Father Glenn Jones, and Father John Carney.
    Special thanks to go to the Knights Ladies Auxiliary and Bill Inkret and his band for making the dinner a success, Mhairi MacKay for helping us out again with the special fundraising hole in support of the Jaime Lee Ireland Scholarship Fund, and Donnie Torres for outstanding help with the tournament. We look forward to seeing everyone out again next year on Sept. 19, 2015!

    Jeff Brown
    2014 tournament chair 

  • Support GO Bond

    About seven bazillion ads and letters later, I’m hoping this is short enough (and absolutely important enough) to encourage Los Alamos County residents to support Library GO Bond Issue B on Nov. 4.
    In this year’s annual library report, dependence on our library system was confirmed:
    • 16,718 registered users
    • 26,170 reference questions
    • 314,612 library visits (87 percent of county residents are users)
    • 21,191 program attendees
    • 26,898 public Internet computers users
    Any long-time resident knows our circulation is roughly three times the national average. Both information and literacy are important to us and have been critical here since the 1940s.
    In addition to a public library system, Los Alamos County is gifted with both public school and university-level (UNM-LA) libraries reflected by excellent test results, literacy levels, and research availability through multiple sources. These libraries need our help, too.
    The critical need for passing Library GO Bond Issue B remains. Please vote yes. Expanding on the details of the three library systems benefitting from a passed GO Bond Issue B makes for a great reference question — at the library!
    Judy Crocker
    Los Alamos
     

  • Resist tampering …vote 'No' on charter

    I’m voting “no” on the charter amendment questions pertaining to proposed changes in governance of the Los Alamos County Utilities Department.
    I have had long experience as a customer and constituent dealing with both the county government and council, as well as with the Department of Public Utilities.
    During those many years I represented a private, nonprofit organization that was both one of the biggest property tax payers in the county, as well as one of the bigger utility customers. I have never been an employee of the county or the Utilities Department, I have never been a politician, nor am I a cheerleader for the Utility Department. Like most organizations, I think the Utility Department has plenty of room for improvement, but I see no connection between the proposed charter amendments and making improvements.
    I read the election materials published by the county and the logic of the proponents’ argument seems to be about their notion of ideal representative democracy rather than about improving effectiveness of the utilities operation.
    I respect their views and concerns, but I disagree that idealism and hypothetical concerns are what are important in deciding how to vote on this proposal.